Almost April

It’s almost my favorite month of the year, April!! New playlist, lots of spring shows and nice weather for running. I can’t decide what show I want to attend on my birthday, it has me quite distraught. Lots of new friends wanting to celebrate my b-day festivities but I did that last year and I kind of have this rule where I do whatever I please on my birthday. So…. I don’t know. I would love to go to Bottom Lounge but I’m leaning towards a show at Park West. It is my favorite venue next to Lincoln Hall. I don’t really want to make a decision on this one, I think I’d rather flow. So I’m going to just put out into the universe good vibes and good intentions for my birthday and see what comes back. I also really need to shake this awkward vibe, not my best state. I know I can do better, it’s like I reverted back to my pre-college 18 year old self in 3 weeks. It’s this weird out of body realization. I’m fully aware I’m feeling shy but just couldn’t shake it. WTF?

April 5…Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe or Gladkill / Sugarpill

April 10-11…Lotus

April 17… DJ noDJ

April 18… Polish Ambassador

April 19… This Must Be the Band

April 20… Particle

Then my hell week starts for both school and work. 1 month and 9 days until graduation, I can do this.

Haven’t really been posting consistently… kind of in a weird funk these days. One thing that I am looking forward to is my graduation dinner. I have an acoustic bluegrass band playing and they said they’ll do covers of virtually anything I want. My list so far is as follows:

 

Hey Hey What Can I Do – Led Zeppelin

Touch of Grey – Grateful Dead

Scarlett Begonias – Grateful Dead

Here Comes The Sun – The Beatles

My Girl – Temptations

I Got The Love – Nate Dogg

Could You Be Loved – Bob Marley

This Must Be The Place – String Cheese cover of Talking Heads

Best Feeling – SCI / Keller Williams

Love and Happiness – Al Green

Running

The great thing about March is the weather is uphill from here. This means that I can finally run outside. I hate running on a treadmill, I feel like a mouse doing the same repetitive task. Nothing feels greater than running outside until whatever was bothering you before seems to disappear. Whenever your having a bad day or something is heavy on your mind, just run until you stop thinking about it. I welcome March with open arms and a new playlist : )

-V.Steele

 

Got To Have That Umph

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Photo Cred Marie Steele

As I walk up to The Riviera, the theatrical Broadway sign immediately captured my attention. Umphrey’s McGee was having their notorious three night run in Chicago and I couldn’t wait to see what they were going to bring for their last night. After finally getting past security, the show was about to start in just a few minutes and the venue was already packed. I kind of love that the show didn’t have openers and started at the time they said it would. This allows for everyone to be on the same page and there solely for some Umph Love. Of course there were your typical concert go-er’s in dreadlocks and flowy skirts but what made it unique was that you could feel the positive vibes from everyone hi-fiving as they just passed yet another UM-friend they knew from a previous show.

For those who don’t know, Umphrey’s McGee or UM experiments with many genres including funk, jazz, blues, metal, electronic, bluegrass, and folk. The band members consist of Brendan Bayliss, Joel Cummins, Ryan Stasik Andy Farag, Jake Cinninger and Kris Myers.

Umphrey’s set began with the debut of, Bathing Digits, which was an instrumental jam. After a few songs they switched over to acoustic and got down to Bad Friday. The song debuted over New Years in Denver and was definitely one of my favorites during the night. I’m curious if it’ll be their go-to break out song for 2014. It was an acoustic version of the funky, dance sensation they played in Denver but was up-beat and fantastic to groove to. Afterwards they continued with their acoustic sound and brought out Daphne Willis for Bullhead City. The song was a great blend of country and bluegrass. What truly sets it apart was the complexity of the guitar. There was more emphasis on intricate combinations of notes versus simple chord strumming.

Umphrey’s second set began with their well-known, Der Bluten Kat. What really got me was last month, Galactic played at Park West and they brought out a saxophonist to lead what resembled a similar song during their show. The whole crowd at Park West started getting extremely hyped during the repeated guitar breaks just like at Umphrey’s. I love when musicians cover other songs. It not only allows the audience to see what the artist likes but creates crowd interaction. Speaking of which, the song after, Der Bluten Kat, was a cover of, Just What I Needed by The Cars. It orchestrated a venue wide sing-a-long and lots of cheesing smiles. One word – feel good music.

The last song of Umphrey’s second set was amazing. The composition of the instrumental and vocal layers in Puppet String is definitely worth commenting on. I felt as if they were puppeteers with their instruments and the guitar in combination with the vocals was soothing yet gave me quite the ear-gasm. They went back and forth between an emphasis on guitar broken up by bass and then over to vocals to a improvised hard rock jam session. For their encore, they brought out Jimmy Chamberlain from Smashing Pumpkins to replace Kris on the drums. For a lovely treat, they closed the night with Cherub Rock, a Smashing Pumpkin’s cover.

I really enjoyed how every few songs emitted a different vibe, kept the audience engaged and was collectively strung together with progressive rock underpinnings. The entire venue couldn’t stop jamming to the classic renditions of Umphrey’s McGee and after the encore I almost started to cheer: we want the Umph, got to have that Umph.

The great thing about seeing Umphrey’s McGee is that it’s kind of like a box of chocolates; you never know what you’re going to get.

-Marie Steele

Source: allthings.umphreys.com

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